It’s summer — hold the heat and pass the pleasantness

ESCANABA – Well, it appears summer weather may be on hold for a bit longer.

A recent forecast said our cool to moderate temperatures may stick around until late summer to early autumn.

For those who like it sweltering – or warm enough for the kids to take a dip – I may have something for you to ponder as this blustery period passes.

I like it warm, but upper 80s and beyond paired with relentless humidity really take it out of me. I’ve run through my mental file cabinet and remember times in the past when conditions were, as my dad puts it, “beastly” hot.

Case in point: Outdoor dedication of St. Francis Hospital, July 24, 1986. Clear skies and high temperatures dominated as delegations arrived from Peoria, Marquette and all over to christen the new structure.

My mom and I were in attendance as members of a community choir and my sister Lori was covering the event for her summer job at The Delta Reporter.

Clerics and religious sisters were in full garb for the celebration, so I guess we lay people had it a little easy. However, as the Mass wore on, the radiant heat of the sun combined with metal chairs on asphalt began to take its toll.

Lori ended up sunburned like a lobster (sunscreen wasn’t as big a deal then) and my mom fanned herself with sheet music like a Southerner. As for me, I went swimming as soon as I could after the event.

Hottie Number Two: Independence Day 1993. My family gathered for its traditional party and picnic, with a Yooper theme that year. People donned winter woolies, Sorrels, chooks and clothes to look authentic, not banking on the fact that it was to turn out to be a real scorcher.

We had a silly competition where family units paraded across our lawn, complete with homemade banners depicting a theme. Everyone was in a hurry to get the dang thing over with and take off the hot, itchy wool and flannel – and maybe get wet during the annual balloon toss.

Ironically, the previous year we had chosen a “Go Hawaiian” theme and our high was about 55 degrees! I wore a grass skirt and was happy indeed to get my cozy socks back on.

Heat Wave Three: Mid-July 1991 (I think). My sister Lori had finally gotten enough vacation time so we could take a few days off and go be silly together. (This was long before husband and kids).

We plotted a map for our “Trans-U.P. Tour,” making a rectangle east to Gulliver, north to Seney, west to Champion, south to Iron Mountain, then home. We planned to hit some scenic spots and do a little shopping and eating out.

Unfortunately, the night before we left Lori twisted her ankle badly so we thought of ditching a hike through the Seney National Wildlife Refuge. However, it wasn’t too terribly bad the next day so we went to the marsh.

The hot, muggy wetlands had a negative effect on Lori’s weak little leg, though, so she more or less limped the last few miles. I was eager to see water birds and wildlife (as always), but as the day progressed it soared to the mid-90s.

We completed the sojourn and hopped in Lori’s non-air conditioned Mustang for the trip to Lake Superior. Sun poured into the vehicle, and we may have hallucinated on the Seney Stretch it was so hot.

Finally, a dip in the frigid water at Shelter Bay restored our composure, and Lori finally quit complaining about the ankle.

So, if you’re longing for a super-sultry day, pull out the photo album, gather a few friends and reminisce. Or, just do a few batches of laundry and hover over the dryer all day.

Karen (Rose) Wils is a lifelong resident of north Escanaba. Her folksy columns are published weekly in Lifestyles.